Texas Tech University

Student Testimonial: Research Opportunities for Personal Financial Planning Students

Ashley Brister

June 25, 2020

Mark Evers TTU

Mark Evers found a way to combine his passions through research: academia, weather, and financial planning

Path to Texas Tech

Ph.D. candidate Mark Evers will graduate with his doctoral degree in Personal Financial Planning this August. His path to graduation has been a long time coming, having a very unique background in meteorology and business.

"My undergraduate background is unique. Immediately after high school, I went to Texas A&M to study meteorology," Mark said. "I did not do what I was needed to and failed out midway through what should have been my Junior year. Fast forward eight years and I ended up at LeTourneau University taking classes in their working adult program in Austin. I took school much more seriously and graduated with honors with a bachelor's degree in business management."

After finishing his MBA, Mark knew his next step was to further his education and continue working in academia. His ultimate goal is to become a college professor.

"If I could say anything to students it is, don't quit. Even if you don't do well or mess up and not finish the first time around, you can go back. I failed out the first time I went to college, but now I have two master's degrees and will graduate in August with my Ph.D. If I can do it, anyone can."

Opportunities in Personal Financial Planning

After researching different disciplines to pursue his Ph.D., Mark said the Personal Financial Planning program at Texas Tech stood out for its notable reputation.

"The reputation of the program to produce the top talent in the industry immediately attracted me," he said. "Plus, I did not have to leave the state for the top financial planning program in the country. The faculty and staff here are like a big family. Their levels of expertise and commitment to the discipline are amazing. The other students are from all over the world and I have built great friendships for life here."

Once in the Ph.D. program, Mark found the perfect opportunity to combine his love for meteorology and financial planning in his graduate student research.

"I am still a little weather nerd at heart, so when the opportunity came to integrate weather with financial planning, I jumped at it. Our own Dr. Charlene Kalenkoski is a storm chaser, so our interests quickly aligned."


With the support of Charlene Kalenkoski, Ph.D., CFP®, Mark began looking at flood insurance and how community members are impacted financially.

"I've had friends lose houses and I've seen communities wiped out," Mark said. "One of my roommates even lost a brother in flooding that occurred along the Highland Lakes. Then, while there to see the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, I just felt the topic was important."

Mark found that only 1 in 5 people affected by Hurricane Harvey has flood insurance. For him, this finding was shocking.

"From a financial planning aspect, catastrophic events like floods can destroy years, even decades of prudent financial discipline. I hope my research can help encourage people to buy insurance and help increase the coverage rates for people across the state."

He also hopes that students at Texas Tech and other community members review their insurance needs, especially when flooding is a common concern in the area.

"If it rains too much, the playa systems get overwhelmed and many areas of town flood. While the water isn't fast-moving like the flooding in Central Texas, the water can still ruin your stuff, particularly anything on the ground floor or in a basement. Everyone, including renters, need to talk to their insurance agent to review their options."